A dozen excited people gathered on the front lawn of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Visitors Centre on Tuesday night, waiting for a glimpse of the van bringing Curtis Hargrove and Allen Felker home from Hollywood.
At the group’s core was Angel Magnussen of Port Alberni, whose desire to share her mission with US television talk show host Ellen DeGeneres kickstarted the Hugginz Highway idea nearly eight months ago.
Hargrove and Felker travelled 2,440 kilometres in seven weeks from Port Alberni to Hollywood, California—Hargrove running most of the way, and Felker supporting him in his Vitv.ca van—in an attempt to hand-deliver a Hugginz By Angel blanket to DeGeneres.
Magnussen, who shares a love of cats with DeGeneres, had made the TV star a blanket last year and sent it to Hollywood, but never received a response. Hargrove, a marathon runner from Cold Lake, AB and a friend of Magnussen’s, decided the only thing to do would be to run the blanket to DeGeneres.
Unfortunately, the TV star was a no-show when Hargrove and Felker arrived.
“I didn’t want to leave the blanket in an area where gifts were given and just dropped off,” he said.
“I brought the blanket back with me because we’re going to share the blanket with schools, we’re going to share it with people, and we’re going to share our story and Angel’s story,” he said.
When Hargrove jumped out of the van wearing a bright yellow banana suit, the young woman trotted across the lawn to wrap him in a big hug.
“This is the best night of my life,” she said once everyone arrived at her Hugginz sewing studio.